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The OwnerRez Blog

A blog about our thoughts, services, upcoming features and the industry at large.

An end to free bookings with OwnerRez-created merchant accounts

Recently, we've been forced to make a corporate decision as it relates to pricing.

Users will no longer have free service in exchange for an OwnerRez-created merchant account.

We will be contacting each OwnerRez merchant customer directly about this news with more details on why we are making this change and the history behind it.  The details are not something we want to share on our public website as it involves some bad acting on the part of our merchant account partner.

This was a very hard decision to make and something that we debated for more than six months.  In the end, we were forced into making this change because of our merchant account partner's actions.

If you are not an OwnerRez merchant customer but would like to know the details, please contact us directly and we'll let you know.

What Will I Be Charged?

All customers, whether you use an OwnerRez-created merchant account or not, will begin paying the usage-based pricing that is listed on our website for all invoices created after February 1, 2015.

For instance, if your invoice day is in the first week of February, that invoice will show usage-based pricing for all bookings that were created during the month of January.

We know some customers will be frustrated with this change.  More than half of you have been merchant customers and have never paid monthly fees.  Please give us time to explain the details to you, by email, and we hope that you'll understand why this change is necessary.  We are working on developing monthly fees that are not usage based for those customers that prefer that type.  In the meantime, thank you for using OwnerRez and we look forward to a great new year of features in 2015.

The fastest, most-professional way to book is with OwnerRez, the leader in online vacation rental software.  Sign up for your free account!

20 Comments (add yours)

Dec 23, 14
11:35 am
Wendy@A-List says:

So are we supposed to look for an outside merchant account to add to OwnerRez or are you going to be offering another merchant account option?
Wendy

Dec 23, 14
12:07 pm
Michelle J says:

Hi Wendy!

Paul, Sam and Chris are responding to requests about this - we should have been a bit clearer in the blog post and email.

We will STILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE SAME MERCHANT ACCOUNTS as always. In other words, the same Cornerstone/Sage/SecureNet account that you have now will CONTINUE TO WORK FINE in the future.

Your second payment and security deposits and everything will remain as they are now. Nothing technically will change. You do not have to switch merchant accounts.

The issue here is about how you are billed by OwnerRez. In the past, we did not charge our normal software fees to users that had the OwnerRez/Cornerstone-created merchant account. We recouped fees through the merchant account so the monthly software fees for those users were $0. If you go to Account > Billing in OwnerRez and look at your monthly invoices, you'll see what I mean. That is what will be changing. In Feb, all users will be billed the same for using OwnerRez no matter what merchant account you use. You can continue using the same OwnerRez/Cornerstone-created merchant account you use now, but your OwnerRez invoices will no longer be free.

Hope this helps,

-Michelle

Dec 23, 14
12:12 pm
Wendy@A-List says:

Got it, will you be looking for another merchant account provider that may offer better rates? less than the 2.9%.
Glad to know I don't have to switch, but don't want them adding their fees either since my contract says $0 in fees, so will wait and see how they do.
Wendy

Dec 23, 14
12:16 pm
Michelle J says:

Yes absolutely. That's the next step here. We're looking at a number of merch providers who are cheaper than the 2.95%. We'll help you move away from the Cornerstone account you have now, but only if you want. I believe you will want to. There are a number of cheaper vendors out there.

Dec 23, 14
12:31 pm
Wendy@A-List says:

That sounds fantastic, thank you.
Wendy

Jan 2, 15
2:02 pm
Lee/Maggie says:

I have never liked the premise of the booking fees. In examining our numbers for 2014, there's so much variability: the system looks more like a penalty system for having slow months.

Jan 5, 15
2:16 pm
Ella says:

I agree. One of the reasons for joining here for me was to avoid additional fees, which are not even that high, for example with PayPal. They are slightly higher than 2.9% plus 30 cents. That right now doesn't seem so high in comparison. I really enjoyed sending invoices and automatic emails, however, Spending $5 per invoice it's probably not what I would do.
Ella

Jan 7, 15
2:39 pm
cp9293 says:

Michelle,

If you do go with VRP, as you guys are looking into that, will it go back to being free for using the merchant account?

Happy New Year!
Claudia

Jan 7, 15
4:48 pm
Michelle J says:

Hi Claudia,

Happy New Years to you too!

No, our new software price applies to everyone equally. No matter what merchant account you have, referred by us or someone else, the monthly software price will be the same.

We are simply trying to find better referrals (like VRP) so that the costs for users is lower.

-Michelle

Jan 7, 15
8:02 pm
Wendy@A-List says:

So the $5.00 is here to stay regardless of if you get a new merchant provider that pays you?

Wendy

Jan 7, 15
8:09 pm
Michelle J says:

Hi Wendy,

The new merchant providers you choose to work with, whether it be Authorize.Net or VRP or someone else, will not be paying us.

We can refer you to other providers, to help lower your monthly credit card fees, but they aren't going to pay us (OwnerRez) anything on the processing side. Not a penny.

We had a deal like that with Cornerstone and it didn't work out (their fault, not ours). There are certainly other providers out there that we could work out residuals deals with (like we had with Cornerstone) but we no longer believe that is a healthy practice. We believe that it is a far better practice to help you find your own merchant account with whoever is the best/cheapest/most reliable provider you can find and let you pay them directly without getting involved. That way, there is no interlocking dependency or need for us (OwnerRez) to need to be compensated for use of our software.

As for the $5/booking charge, it's usually lower than that unless you only do 1-2 bookings per month. Also, we are going to be creating a monthly flat rate that you can choose instead. So there will be Pay Monthly (flat rate based on number of properties you have) or Pay As You Go (the per booking fee that we have now) so each user can choose that they prefer.

Does all of that make sense?

-Michelle

Jan 7, 15
8:48 pm
Wendy@A-List says:

O.k., I thought you were searching to replace cornerstone as the merchant provider...so we have to do our own research and contract through them.

How do we have them interface with you then? So for an example if I go back to ecommerce or Costco, etc, do you and they work together so I can use ownerreservations as I have been? or I can just keep using cornerstone that is still currently being used here?

Wendy

Jan 8, 15
9:53 am
Michelle J says:

Yes, you can find and set up processing with other providers, though we are attempting to find some "good rate" providers to recommend. That's why we're talking to people like VRP - so that you have somewhere to quickly and easily go without having to do a lot of research.

You can find your own provider (just Google around!) as long as it uses one of the gateways we integrate with. You can find a list of our supported gateways here:

https://secure.ownerreservations.com/paymentmethods/add

If you don't want to do the work of going with a new provider (or maybe you want to wait until later) then, yes, you can certainly stick with the Cornerstone account you have now. We will continue supporting the Sage and SecureNet gateways, so those accounts will continue to work same as ever.

-Michelle

Jan 8, 15
10:04 am
Ella says:

Hello Michelle,
When will Pay Monthly flat rate be available? Or do you know what the rate will be, so you can tell us?
Ella

Jan 8, 15
11:05 am
Michelle J says:

Hi Ella,

I can't share any definitive information on that at the moment other than to say that monthly pricing is definitely happening. We had decided on that even back before we shared this news about the free bookings ending.

-Michelle

Jan 31, 15
1:04 pm
Ella says:

Hi Michelle,
Any update on the monthly pricing?
Also this is confusing:
"All customers, whether you use an OwnerRez-created merchant account or not, will begin paying the usage-based pricing that is listed on our website for all invoices created after February 1, 2015.

For instance, if your invoice day is in the first week of February, that invoice will show usage-based pricing for all bookings that were created during the month of January."
From what I understand, any new invoice created starting tomorrow (Feb 1st) will count per use. But, the following sentace stating that "invoice will show usage-based pricing for all bookings that were created during the month of January" - that part is confusing. Please explain. My inoice date is 19th. Which successfull bookings will count?

Jan 31, 15
1:06 pm
Ella says:

Will the invoice be for all bookings from Jan19-Feb19, but I'll only get charged for bookings that came in after tomorrow (Feb1st) on this first invoice?

Jan 31, 15
4:39 pm
Michelle J says:

Hi Ella,

We don't have monthly pricing ready yet. That's won't be ready for a few months. We have to update our billing engine to handle that and we're not entirely sure what is needed for that. At the moment, all pricing will be Pay As You Go based on usage according to the pricing that you see now.

Basically, starting Feb 1, our billing engine which runs each morning will begin calculating invoices WITHOUT considering free bookings. So starting tomorrow morning, anyone with an invoice date that falls tomorrow, will see an invoice that calculates all the bookings for the previous month period. If bookings were created during the previous month period, the charges will be the normal price and it will not show "Free" on the invoice as it did previously.

If your personal billing day is the 19th, then the invoice you receive on Feb 19 will calculate everything from Jan 20 - Feb 19th against the new pricing structure. Everything on the Jan 19th invoice would have shown the old method.

We basically gave everyone *at least* a week to switch merchant accounts before the Jan period started. And since most people don't get invoiced on the first day of the month, most people had several weeks to find a different merchant account and switch if they wanted to. For instance, in your case, you had about a month (Dec 23 - Jan 19) to consider if you wanted to switch merchant accounts before the new pricing went into affect for you.

Hope this helps,

-Michelle

Jan 31, 15
4:46 pm
Ella says:

I understand. Thank you for the explanation. How do we pay you? I see there's a section for credit card information, ..or do you deduct it from our bank just like transaction fees?

Jan 31, 15
5:47 pm
Michelle J says:

Welcome! The invoice email you get will take care of that. If you want to set your card info early, go to My Account (top right button) and click the billing links. There's a spot to enter/update your card info.

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What is OwnerRez?

We are an online booking service for vacation rental property that helps managers and owners save time, create quotes and bookings faster, look professional and keep detailed records without needing an accountant or staff.